Cistus laurifolius

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Cistus laurifolius
Cistus laurifolius2LEST.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Cistaceae
Genus: Cistus
C. laurifolius
Binomial name
Cistus laurifolius

Cistus laurifolius, commonly called laurel-leaf cistus,[1] laurel-leaved cistus[2] or laurel-leaved rock rose, is a species of highly branched flowering evergreen shrub native to some areas around the Mediterranean.


It grows 0.8–2 m (2 ft 7 in – 6 ft 7 in) high. The branches are strong and erect, with reddish bark that is easily removed in strips. The leaves are larger than in the other species of Cistus, up to 9 cm (4 in) long, lanceolate, dark green, while the underside is whitish due to trichomes. The flowering occurs in late spring (May–June), later than most rockroses.[3] It bears white flowers with a yellow spot at the base of each petal, of 4.5–5 cm diameter[4] It is widely cultivated in gardens, and has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Cistus laurifolius has a disjunct natural distribution throughout the Mediterranean Basin, being found west in Morocco, Iberia (Portugal, Spain), avoiding the wetter climate in the northwest, southern France, Corsica and Tuscany (Italy), and east in Greece and Anatolia.[4]

With the general warming of the atmosphere and the consequent withdrawal of glacial ice, flora surviving from Tertiary times could not re-establish their range in southern Europe;[clarification needed] the new post-glacial climate was drier than that of the Tertiary. The original tropical European flora evolved into the present Mediterranean sclerophyll flora.[6][7][8] The distribution of some surviving species, such as Cistus laurifolius, shifted to wetter areas, such as the mountains.[8] Due to this, C. laurifolius is named in Spanish in its distribution area as "mountain rockrose",[8] although in the moister coastal west and northwest Iberian Peninsula, it is found at sea level.[9][dubious ]

Cistus shrubland, including C. laurifolius, resprouts after fire and has seeds that germinate after fires.[10]


Cistus laurifolius belongs to the white and whitish pink flowered clade of Cistus species.

Species-level cladogram of Cistus species.

  Halimium spp.  


  Cistus crispus  


  Cistus asper  

  Cistus chinamadensis  

  Cistus horrens  

  Cistus ocreatus  

  Cistus osbeckiifolius  

  Cistus palmensis  

  Cistus symphytifolius  


  Cistus heterophyllus  


  Cistus albidus  

  Cistus creticus  

  Halimium spp.  


  Cistus clusii  

  Cistus munbyi  


  Cistus inflatus  

  Cistus ladanifer  

  Cistus laurifolius  

  Cistus libanotis  

  Cistus monspeliensis  

  Cistus parviflorus  

  Cistus populifolius  

  Cistus pouzolzii  

  Cistus salviifolius  

  Cistus sintenisii  

  Whitish Pink
Species-level cladogram of Cistus species, based on plastid and nuclear DNA sequences.[11][12][13][14]




  1. ^ "Cistus laurifolius". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  2. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  3. ^ Filippi, Olivier (2007). Pour un jardin sans arrosage (For a garden without irrigation). Arles: Actes Sud. p. 207. ISBN 978-2-7427-6730-4.
  4. ^ a b "Cistus laurifolius" (PDF). Flora Iberica. 3: 331. Retrieved 21 March 2022.
  5. ^[dead link]
  6. ^ John W. Harshberger (1926). "Mediterranean Garigue and Macchia (first page)". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 65 (1): 56–63. JSTOR 984338.
  7. ^ Fernández-Mazuecos, M.; Vargas, P. (2010). "Ecological rather than geographical isolation dominates Quaternary formation of Mediterranean Cistus species". Molecular Ecology. 19 (7): 1381–1395. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294x.2010.04549.x. PMID 20196815. S2CID 19450012.
  8. ^ a b c Beatriz Guzmán; Pablo Vargas (2005). "Systematics, character evolution, and biogeography of Cistus L. (Cistaceae) based on ITS, trnL-trnF, and matK sequences" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 37 (3): 644–660. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.04.026. PMID 16055353.
  9. ^ Antonio Rigueiro Rodríguez; Fco. Javier Silva-Pando. "Aportaciones A La Flora De Galicia, I." (PDF). Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid. 40 (2): 385–395.
  10. ^ R. Tárrega; E. Luis-Calabuig; I. Alonso (1997). "Space-time heterogeneity in the recovery after experimental burning and cutting in a Cistus laurifolius shrubland". Plant Ecology. 129 (2): 179–187. doi:10.1023/A:1009728317705. S2CID 1870517. Archived from the original on 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2012-05-10.
  11. ^ Guzmán, B. & Vargas, P. (2005). "Systematics, character evolution, and biogeography of Cistus L. (Cistaceae) based on ITS, trnL-trnF, and matK sequences". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 37 (3): 644–660. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.04.026. PMID 16055353.
  12. ^ Guzmán, B. & Vargas, P. (2009). "Historical biogeography and character evolution of Cistaceae (Malvales) based on analysis of plastid rbcL and trnL-trnF sequences". Organisms Diversity & Evolution. 9 (2): 83–99. doi:10.1016/j.ode.2009.01.001.
  13. ^ Guzman, B.; Lledo, M.D. & Vargas, P. (2009). "Adaptive Radiation in Mediterranean Cistus (Cistaceae)". PLOS ONE. 4 (7): e6362. Bibcode:2009PLoSO...4.6362G. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006362. PMC 2719431. PMID 19668338.
  14. ^ Civeyrel, Laure; Leclercq, Julie; Demoly, Jean-Pierre; Agnan, Yannick; Quèbre, Nicolas; Pélissier, Céline & Otto, Thierry (2011). "Molecular systematics, character evolution, and pollen morphology of Cistus and Halimium (Cistaceae)". Plant Systematics and Evolution. 295 (1–4): 23–54. doi:10.1007/s00606-011-0458-7. S2CID 21995828.
  15. ^ "".